This is one Lexus product we donâ€™t mind driving whenever itâ€™s available. Probably our favorite Lexus product, the IS2005 is way fun.
Sounds silly, I know, but with so many vehicles available today, the differences in them begin to disappear. Especially partial to performance vehicles, Lexus doesnâ€™t necessarily fit this category. But the IS200t drives and acts a little like a performance car, and we welcome that.
Revamped in 2014, the IS took on a little bit of an edgy look, resembling Lexusâ€™ NX trim versions. Itâ€™s about time, we thought. While this sedan is not large by any stretch of the imagination, it is agile, and fun to drive.
In the entry-level IS 250, Toyota plunked the 2.5-liter V6 engine. Adding a turbo engine and/or the 3.5-liter V6, coupled with Lexusâ€™ F-Sport package, made the IS a real contender. Handling was much improved, and the carâ€™s all-around feel felt, well, less Lexus-like.
The new powerplant in the IS is now a 2.0-liter twin-scroll Turbocharged inline 4-cylinder with VVT and 241 horse. Our test vehicle, although carrying a near-luxury price tag of $37,325 quickly become a lot more pricey once a few â€˜specialâ€™ options were added.
Our test IS 200t came equipped with a lot of standard features, as expected, and an added couple of options: Blind Spot Monitor cross-traffic alert heated outside mirror ($600), F-Sport package ($3,545), Navigation system/Mark Levinson Audio System, 5.1 surround 17-speakers, 835 watts, remote touch interface, Lexus Enform Destinations, App Suite, Voice Command, Lexus Insider, Electrochromic auto–dimming rearview mirror ($2,645), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control w/Pre-collision System ($500), Preium Paint ($595), F-Sport perforated leather heated steering wheel with paddle shifters ($150). Yikes.
Hard to give up a few of these goodies; namely, the Mark Levinson stereo. We had so much fun throwing in sound tracks form The Imitation Game and The Danish Girl, and ramping up the volume. The F-Sport package, in this writerâ€™s opinion, is also a must.
So be ready to shell out some big bucks for this compact-ish sedan. Some may not have warmed up to the new styling out of Lexus; we like it and believe it was time to do something different; read: less bland.
Competing with the likes of Mercedes C300, BMW 328i, Infiniti and Acura, the IS 200 may fall somewhat short, but in some ways, weâ€™re talking apples/oranges.
Lexusâ€™ 200tâ€™ model name also sits on the Lexus NX small crossover, Lighter than the crossover, the IS 200t benefits with the same engine. Not a record-breaker but top speed is claimed to be 148 mph. The car seems to hold the corners well, and although somewhat â€˜light,â€™ navigates normal roadways with a little understeer, Once all four tires are on the pavement, the IS 200t appears confident
The consensus was to definately opt for the special paint: Ultrasonic Blue Mica. At the â€˜premiumâ€™ price of $595, it is a real gift to yourself, but stands out.
The IS 200tâ€™s interior isnâ€™t award-winning, but comfortable. This is a tight fitting cabin, however. It somehow feels good as the driver has the feeling of being â€˜tucked in.â€™ Not a lot of room for movement, however. Stats state seating is 2/3! There is a regular rear seat, but not recommended for long trips.
Now that we are accustomed to the â€˜joystickâ€™ that navigates your display, audio, we kind of like it. There are, of course, various versions of these controls throughout autoland. Some better than others.
MSRP: $37,325, total vehicle price $46,300, destination $940
Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder inline, Variable Valve Timing Intelligent Wide, 241 horsepower, 258 lb-ft torque
Transmission: 8-speed automatic w/ECT-i
Wheelbase: 110.2 in.
Height: 56.3 in.
Width: 71.3 in.
Length: 183.7 in.
Curb Weight: 3,583 lbs.
EPA fuel economy: 22/33 mpg.
Fuel tank capacity: 17.4 gal.
Tires: 225/45R17 all-season
Wheels: 17-inch aluminum
Warranty: 4 yr./50,000-miles basic; 6 yr/70,000-miles drivetrain